MINOR CAPTAIN Enda Hession from Garrymore will captain the Mayo minor footballers in the Connacht Championship this season. Pic: Michael Donnelly
THE Mayo Minor (Under-17) footballers begin their Connacht Championship campaign tomorrow evening (Wednesday) against Leitrim at MacHale Park, Castlebar at 8pm.
And with no Connacht Minor League campaign under their belt this season to road-test players and benchmark themselves against neighbouring counties, Mayo manager Tom Morley says that the team are ’as ready as they’re going to be at this time of the year’.
“It’s unusual in that we’ve got two matches coming up and then five or six weeks off, another two matches, and then on from there,” the Kiltimagh native told The Mayo News.
“The only issue I would have is that playing challenge matches is all we’ve had.
“There was no league in Connacht this year so that means we don’t really know where we’re at in relation to other counties in Connacht.
“We had some really good trial games amongst ourselves and we’ve played Westmeath twice, Cork, Wicklow and Tyrone. We haven’t been beaten yet.”
Morley and his management team of Kevin Filan, Paul Cunney, Tom Mulderrig, Kieran Lavelle and Fergal Kelly have named Garrymore’s Enda Hession as their team captain.
His club-mate, Liam Óg Horkan is Mayo’s vice-captain.
Morley, has won a Connacht Under-21 championship medal with Mayo in 1997 and managed Ballyhaunis to the County Intermediate title in 2014.
Since then he has managed both the Tubbercurry senior footballers in Sligo and the Boyle senior side in Roscommon.
The Swinford-based secondary school teacher explained what attracted him to the Mayo Under-17 role?
“When I was asked to do it, it felt that everything I had done up to now had led to this.
“I’m not 100% sure did I do everything I’d done up to now to get this, but it felt like it was the right time to see where we were at.
“And to see if we could put a management team together that could work together, put the ideas into practice, and develop the style of play that you’d spend hours talking with mates about, and put it into action.
“I see myself as part of a management team and a big part of our job is building relationships with players and parents of players.
“It’s important too that players appreciate that yes, you have to make sacrifices to represent Mayo, but you should never take that for granted.
“There are so many people out there who would love to get the chance to play for Mayo.”
Mayo are away to Roscommon next week in round 2 of their round-robin championship campaign.
MAYO UNDER-17 SQUAD
Ronan Connolly (Ardnaree), Sean Holmes (Knockmore), Eoghan McHale (Castlebar), Aidan Cosgrove (Kiltimagh), Ruairi Keane (Mayo Gaels), Liam Og Horkan (Garrymore), Conor Dunleavy (Balla), Jack Carney (Kilmeena), Harry Burke (Claremorris), Frank Irwin (Ballina), Ultan O’Reilly (Castlebar), Lee Traynor (Ardagh), Martin Ball (Lousiburgh), Fionnan Ryan (Belmullet), Enda Hession (Garrymore), Darragh Fallon (Claremorris), Luke Dawson (Westport), Paddy Heneghan (Castlebar), Liam O’Donoghue (Kiltane), Ethan Henry (Mayo Gaels), Peter Timlin (Knockmore), Fergal Sweeney (The Neale), Evan Ivers (Belmullet), Ciaran Mylett (Castlebar), Padraig Beirne (Breaffy), Canice Bennett (Balla), Conor Calvey (Westport), Padraic Cowman (Belmullet), Matthew Coyle (Ballaghaderreen), Liam Jones (Ardnaree), Jack Mahon (Charlestown), Alfie Morrison (Castlebar), Jason Murray (Kilcommon), Adam Naughton (Knockmore), Oisin Phillips (Ballaghaderreen), Ray Walsh (Westport).
Connacht Minor FC
Mayo v Leitrim
Wednesday, May 2
Castlebar at 8pm
You can read our in-depth interview with Mayo Under-17 manager, Tom Morley, in this week’s digital edition of The Mayo News